Yesterday was another session in Hippotherapy at the Poedertoren in Herselt, Belgium. And I wish to immediately point out that the title has nothing to do with hippotherapy nor with the Poedertoren! It has everything to do with travelling some 80km into Belgium and seeing sights which should have long been banished out of our “civilized” environment.
Despite a considerable number of people, ranches, stables and organizations in Belgium that are dedicated to natural care and welfare for our equine friends, Belgium remains one of the perpetrators of that unnecessary and downright cruel activity of docking horses’ tails.
As usual, the advocates will call upon “tradition” as being their right to carry on this barbaric practice; but what right do we have to deprive a horse of an essential part of its body? A horse signals with its tail and very importantly, a horse uses its tail as a very effective and very necessary fly swatter. How often do we see a number of horses gathered together in a field in the summer, so positioned that they swat the flies away from each other – it is therefore also a part of bonding within a band.
Some may well say “happily it is only restricted to the draught horses” – but that is no argument; a draught horse is as much in need of a tail as any other breed or type. Others will say “it only happens in Belgium” but there I would say take caution in your pronunciation: many draught horses born in the Netherlands are taken to Belgium at an early age to have their tails docked.
High time something was done about this atrocious activity. High time the Netherlands took action against the (re-)importation of docked horses; high time Belgium pulled its socks up and outlawed this barbaric practice altogether; time that those idle bastards in the European parliament insured that such a law is passed covering ALL member states of the EU.
High time: NOW
5 February 2012:
Since writing this text, I have spoken to a number owners or users of draught horses in Belgium and I am informed that the practice is also illegal there. However, typically for Belgium, you only need to get a declaration from a vet that docking is necessary on medical grounds, and you have found your loophole. There are obviously no medical grounds for simply docking a horse’s tail and just shows how corrupt a number of vets are.